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It’s a ratty, ratty, ratty world

Happy World Rat Day! No, really. Rattophobes (AKA musophobes, murophobes or suriphobes), turn away now.

I was born in the Year of the Rat, and I’ve always had a soft spot for rodents. In isolation — I mean, not living in the walls and peeing on your cornflakes — they are nice, clean and friendly little beasties.

I got quite interested in fancy mouse breeding in my twenties, until it was driven home to me that culling is an important part of the hobby. Not really into crushing babbies, me.

Still, I learned enough about rodent husbandry that I was quite excited to come to London. One of our first dates, I made Uncle B take me to the London and Southern Counties Rat and Mouse Club, the oldest fancy rat club in the world.

We went to a rat and mouse show. And he married me anyway.

The hobby owes its origins to Jack Black, Queen Victoria’s rat catcher. Whenever he trapped an unusual-looking rat, he spared its life and bred it. A hundred and umpty years later, and the number of recognized varieties of fancy rat is astonishing.

Though I’ve kept many mice as pets over the years, I’ve never kept a rat. They are smart and friendly (and large) enough to capture your affection like a proper pet, but they don’t live long. And they tend to die horribly.

Anyway. Not sure how you celebrate World Rat Day. Eat a peanut butter sandwich and shit on the counter?

April 4, 2018 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 15

Happy December!

advent

‘Tis the month of Christmas. Yes, we do that. It helps to have an advent calendar.

This one’s mine — Uncle B bought me the Lindt one.

For the record, today was no improvement over yesterday. It HAMMERED down with rain this morning. It was like biking in through a shower of freezing cold needles. Then I had a doctor’s appointment (diagnosis: plantar fasciitis), an accountant appointment and I had to buy chicken food.

But behind Door #1 was a tiny Lindt bunny. All is right with the world.

Have a good weekend, all!

December 1, 2017 — 7:38 pm
Comments: 10

Happy T’day!

turkeyanim

Happy Thanksgiving! Also the ninth anniversary of my permanent move to the UK. (The actual date was the 22nd, I think, but it was Thanksgiving 2008).

Hope you all have a good’un and make complete pigs of yourselves, and don’t forget the MST3K Turkey Day Day Marathon!

Not to mention tomorrow’s new Dead Pool, queued up and ready to go!

November 23, 2017 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 10

Boo!

halloween

Happy Hallowe’en! They don’t really do this one here, or at least they haven’t until recently. Not even any scary movies on TV.

I love a good ghost story. I don’t even know why. I’m as psychic as a potato.

I live in a 400 year old house, I go to a 600 year old church and I handle ancient parchments all day and nary a spooky feeling or an aura or an orb or nothing. The only time I’ve ever gotten the willies was in the woods back home, and I’m sure our species is wired to get the willies in the woods sometimes.

Any spooky movie recommendations? We don’t have Netflix, but we have Amazon Prime. And YouTube, of course.

October 31, 2017 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 18

Hells YES we celebrate the Fourth in this house

And the Queen’s birthday and Squirrel Appreciation Day and Talk Like a Pirate Day. If there’s a celebration — particularly one that involves food, booze or fireworks — I’m yer weasel. (Image pinched from previous Fourth).

Just occurred to me. If I get my act together this year, this might be the last Fourth of July I ain’t British. OH NOES!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

July 4, 2017 — 10:20 pm
Comments: 13

I found a loophole, said Weasel!

twee

Our Christmas tree. Yeah, it always looks lame in black and white, but I give it a try every year. Trust me, it was lovely.

I know some people take the tree down the minute Christmas is over, but that’s definitely not us. We usually aim for Twelfth Night, because it’s traditional and we’re like that, but January 5th (or is it the 6th?) just seemed too soon. The tree was still lovely, hadn’t dropped a needle, and we weren’t quite ready to wave g’bye to Christmas.

But the other traditional day is Candlemas (did I mention we’re traditional?). But that’s February 2nd, and that just seemed way too long, even for big crybabies like us.

Then I found a loophole – Old Twelvey Night! This is where Twelfth Night fell before adoption of the Gregorian Calendar and some hearty Brits still observe it. Because pff – that was just, like, 1582.

I love these people.

It’s tonight — the 17th of January. We’re going to take our tree down and do it right. Bottle of fizz, a nice steak dinner. I’m not going in in the morning so we can sleep in. Try to hold onto the true meaning of Old Twelvey Night. Which is steak and champagne, I guess. I don’t know. You can just make this shit up if you want.

Wishing you a very merry Old Twelvey Night, from our household to yours!

January 17, 2017 — 8:57 pm
Comments: 11

Turkeys: the paste-eating mouth breathers of the poultry world

turkeys

I stole this picture from National Geographic. At first, I couldn’t work out what it was. Some sort of two-headed conjoined twin turkey maybe. But no, it’s just a pair of Meleagris gallopavo being they own brilliant selfs.

I’ll be honest with you — I think our turkey this year had a leeeetle too much fresh air and healthful exercise. She was tough-ish. More indolence and lounging around the barn for the next one, I think.

Anyway, I’ve boiled down the carcass and made a pie for tonight. A bit of soup tomorrow, and that’s the bird done.

On to the ham!

December 28, 2016 — 11:07 pm
Comments: 14

Happy Boxing Day!

boxinggloves

All these years in the UK, I still haven’t worked out WTF that means.

We had a lovely Christmas: tons of lovely loot, heaps of lovely food. That social butterfly of a free-range turkey was delicious, though her legs reflected a toughness born of all the exercise she got running around gossiping with her turkey friends in flowery meadows. The cats get that part.

I still haven’t recovered my stamina, though, so I won’t linger. Santa prescribes indolence and reading of books.

Hope yours was as nice as ours!

December 26, 2016 — 10:31 pm
Comments: 16

Turkey ’bout done

turkey

When I went picture shopping, the caption to the Obama image was like “The President sheds a tear over…” and I didn’t even click the link to find out “over what.” I had a frisson of delight thinking — oh, I know. President Trump will let us down in a thousand ways — but it will surely be a long, long time before we see a president boo-hoo in public over anything again.

I haven’t forgotten — Leaky George Bush started it. And let’s not think about John Boehner.

Hope your turkey was de-lightful. Ours isn’t done yet — we do Thanksgiving as a midnight meal. With champagne. It’s a tradition. Hey, you move to a foreign country, you get to make all this ancient traditional shit up.

That’s a few hours yet, so I’m just boiling the sweet patooties (preparatory to candying) and pre-soaking the dressing. In butter. Last of the imported Pepperidge Farm. Man, I love this holiday.

p.s. We are totally stoked — we just heard a real, live owl going HOO HOO HOOOOOO in the back garden!

p.p.s. Oh, yeah – and I arrived in the UK for keeps Thanksgiving 2008. Eight years of limey goodness. T’day was the 27th that year — the 24th, the movers came and sucked all my worldly goods out the front door. May I never witness such a thing again!

November 24, 2016 — 9:03 pm
Comments: 18

Here we go!

thanksgiving

We’ve just got back from buying an obscene amount of food for tomorrow. The best part is, what does he know from Thanksgiving? I can tell him, “oh, yeah, dude — gin and red velvet cupcakes are totally part of a traditional Turkey Day celebration.”

Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving (duh), but they are aware of it and they try to show willing. I’m often asked if, like, they should buy me a card or something. I’m going in for a bit tomorrow, but taking Friday to accommodate the tryptophan coma.

So who and what are you having tomorrow?

November 23, 2016 — 9:48 pm
Comments: 20